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Experienced Mom Says: A Family Membership to A Science Museum Has Surprisingly Best Value
When you think about visiting a city with your family, the first thing you think about are the attractions and sightseeing. When you have small children, you also want the trips to be educational. My children love the interactive activities at a science museum. What parents do not know is that individual admissions add up. However, very few parents know that the science museums have a great reciprocity system where one's membership to a museum is tremendously affordable.The only condition is that the museum must be 90 miles from where you live. Since we live in Los Angeles, we decided to look for the best museum to join and take advantage of this reciprocity program.
The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
We concluded that not only do we love the Fleet Science Center, but it also has the best value. The Fleet Science Center has a subset of the interactive science exhibits of the Exploratorium but then it has two or three other exhibits and an IMAX theater. At an adult admission of $11.75 and a child admission at $9.75, it would cost us $43 for a family of four to visit and this did not include any IMAX tickets. However, with a family membership costing $84, you receive a year's admission, 8 IMAX tickets (adult price valuing $15.75 and junior price valuing $12.75). If the family went to see 2 IMAX movies, you would have to pay $114. So, the membership is practically free since the 8 free IMAX tickets are worth much more. Plus, you receive a member's discount at the gift shop.
Further, if you have never been to a real IMAX theater, a dome theater, it is worth the experience. After attending a real IMAX theater experience, I now refuse to attend an "IMAX" movie at a local theater.
Tech Museum in San Jose
Because of our Fleet Science Center membership and Tech Museum being more than 90 miles from Los Angeles, we received free admission to the Tech Museum. Thismuseum first opened in 1998, but it feels very new. Since this museum is in Silcon Valley, it is proud to have many exhibit involving computer and electronics. Most of the exhibits involves selection of different tasks and their outcomes.
When we were there, there was also a cool exhibit on different types of video games. Plus, there is also an exhibit from NASA, and we were able to sit in a machine and control its movement like an amusement ride.
Exploratorium in San Francisco
Because of our Fleet Science Center membership and the Exploratorium being more than 90 miles from Los Angeles, we received free admission to the the Exploratorium. The Exploratorium opened in 1969. It is located next to a beautiful park called Palace of Fine Arts. The museum has a large exhibit of interactive activities. My favorite exhibit was a homemade camera that takes split second photography such as a drop of water into a mug. Everything is touchable. There are optical illusions, experiments with sound and motion, and a lot of different types of activities.